How FlexWerk is empowering fitness professionals to sculpt their own business narrative.
Steve Pirt’s journey in the fitness industry unfolds as a classic tale of ambition, perseverance and innovation.
Pirt’s career in fitness took off in 2000, when he leveraged his passion for exercise into a personal training role at a 24 Hour Fitness in Sacramento, California. With his sociable demeanor and foundational expertise, he rapidly amassed a clientele, eclipsing what was typical for a novice trainer.
Six months later, Pirt was promoted to fitness manager. From there, he quickly climbed up the ladder, beginning as a sales manager and ending as the national director of franchise operations for one of the largest international fitness companies, UFC GYM.
Ultimately, this culminated in him becoming the CEO and founder of his own venture, FlexWerk.
The inception of FlexWerk was Pirt’s response to a glaring gap in the fitness domain. Throughout two decades of diligent observation, Pirt identified a pattern: around 88% of fitness coaches and trainers are employees. And many of these individuals are yearning for autonomy but face barriers to entry.
“The majority of them expressed a desire to be their own boss, but the barrier to entry was prohibitively high,” said Pirt. “This trend only accelerated post COVID, as the industry shut down and forced us all to figure out how to operate outside of the traditional career options of the big boxes or boutiques. It’s time to add fuel to the fire.”
Pirt found trainers and coaches often lacked:
- Space to train outside of the traditional big boxes or high-rent gyms.
- Equipment that was accessible and met their needs.
- Technology that enabled them to provide high-quality, personalized and unique experiences for their clients.
- A business model that was accessible as they were starting and growing their business.
FlexWerk was Pirt’s solution: a co-working sanctuary offering private training spaces, cutting-edge equipment and the technological infrastructure to foster high-quality, personalized client experiences.
So, Pirt got to work making FlexWerk a reality and fully committed to building the best product possible. He conceived the business model, designed the brand, raised the necessary funding, assembled international advisors and vendor partnerships, and built a custom tech stack unique to a venture of this kind. He even moved his family across the country from California to Indiana, the state he had identified as the best test market for the concept, to open the FlexWerk flagship location.
The reward was worth the risk. FlexWerk became a franchisor and sold a multi-unit development deal just three months after opening the first location.
With a mission to redefine how fitness professionals ‘werk’ and a vision to dot the globe with such spaces, FlexWerk is becoming a turn-key solution for fitness entrepreneurship.
“We want to be the vehicle to propel millions of fitness professionals to new heights of success,” said Pirt. “We want our guests to walk into FlexWerk and think, ‘This feels like it was built by my peers, for my peers and I have everything I need to be successful, with an amazing culture of professionalism.’”
Pirt’s passion is palpable when he speaks of transforming an idea into tangible reality, of being a catalyst for professional transformation in fitness and of pioneering pathways for entrepreneurship. His joy is mirrored in the success stories that echo through the halls of FlexWerk, where trainers and clients alike find a space to grow and evolve.
“We are proud of manifesting an original idea from napkin to reality,” said Pirt. “We wanted to conceive a company that’s dedicated to solving a real problem in the marketplace. Everyone involved with FlexWerk is driven by a deep purpose to transform the career opportunities for fitness professionals.”
And the proof is in the responses.
“We receive countless feedback from our guests about how transformational FlexWerk has been for their success,” said Pirt. “Trainers are growing their business three times over in just months, and clients are stepping into a fitness space for the first time since COVID or ever. Our utilization grows 20% month over month. We are providing a lucrative vehicle for entrepreneurial success for fitness professionals and franchisees.”
The keystones of FlexWerk’s burgeoning achievement lie in its unique value propositions: privacy, premium quality, personalization, safety, efficiency and empowerment. This is supplemented by an obsessive focus on guest experience, innovative design and rapid expansion.
“We are obsessed about supporting the success of our customers, including fitness professionals, clients and guests by providing unique options and innovative tools with purpose,” said Pirt.
Additional keys to success include FlexWerk’s focus on something they call the Friction Free Ecosystem: a proprietary integrated technology solution built to enhance the capabilities of the FlexWerk employees and to elevate the experiences of the guests.
Some examples include the four-tap reservation process via their own FlexWerk app, studio quality customizable lighting, commercial-grade audio, live streaming capability from any personal device, and private VPN servers in each space. Plus, access control utilizing digital keys ensures safety and friction free space reservation management.
Franchisees can expect location build outs that are rapid by industry standards — just 18 weeks — simplified low labor operations, automated sales processes and opportunities for multiple revenue streams to drive profitability.
In addition, FlexWerk boasts a rich ecosystem of strategic partnerships and proprietary technologies, such as Younix — which is the brand’s exclusive premium equipment and design partner. “Umberto and Nadiem are amazing partners and huge ambassadors for our success,” said Pirt. “They go above and beyond the standard levels of support and provide deep understanding of fitness trends and the ability to custom build unique solutions for our guests.”
Another key partnership is with The Premier Group, a leading national audio video solutions company. “Jason and his brilliant team were the only firm out of over 15 that could build our custom ecosystem to my exact needs and their award winning, high-end expertise brings a refreshing perspective that doesn’t follow the traditional norms of fitness industry design,” said Pirt.
No matter the company, each FlexWerk partnership is intentional and collaborative.
“We collaborate and receive support from the executive level of each of our vendor partners, which propels our ability to move fast and build the right solutions for the needs of our guests,” said Pirt.
Ultimately, FlexWerk’s distinct edge in the health and fitness industry is empowerment: the freedom for fitness professionals to sculpt their own business narrative.
“Be your own boss,” said Pirt. “Train how you want to train, when and with whom. We are a builder of businesses and provide solutions for real problems.”